By Kelle Colyer-Brown, Amit Kale, and Jiaze He
Company Name: Cooktime, Inc
Location: New York, NY
Company Product: A Cookbook app for recipes, sharing personal tricks for cooking, books, videos, etc.
Project Concept: Cooktime’s current system uses the bell curve performance measurement system, calculated manually in Microsoft Excel. The company projects 70% year over year market growth and urgently needs a performance management system. The new system needs to lead the market in incorporating features and functions that will drive innovation and support retaining employees.
Employee strength: 1100
Stakeholder/Departments: All departments, but a focus on the following
● Sales and Marketing department to increase Sales and Branding for the App usage.
● Motivate the Content team to add new and unique recipes.
● Talent Management & Business department to reduce attrition.
● Goal and objective tracking to increase employee efficiency and productivity (quarterly and yearly)
● General Counsel - recordkeeping to mitigate risk from performance-related employment actions
● Compensation - Budget management and compensation forecasting; total comp structure including performance-based bonuses
● Leadership / Executives - Ensure professional development goals and performance benchmarks are aligned with organizational goals.
Project Goal and Scope
Evaluate and Implement a cloud-based performance management system that will help the organization automate, track and record employee performance.
1) Perform a needs analysis & gap analysis to build a business case
The strategy is to identify the features required in the new system and how it will solve the current and future business needs. A steering committee is formed to identify the system needs, how the system should work and timelines. A Requirements Definition Report will be created with the help of HRIS team members, HR, department subject matter experts, IT team and a member from senior management preferably a Head of HR/SVP HR.
The new performance management system should resolve the following business problems.
● An automated system that will make it easier for employees and managers to conduct performance reviews easier and in a timely manner.
● A system that will record all performance appraisals data - ratings, base pay, bonus, commissions, etc.
● A system that enables employees to conduct a self-appraisal, tracks their goals and achievements.
GAP Analysis: We will document the current state of the manual system, the existing features and conduct interviews with stakeholders and document their inputs as follows:
● Business Requirements:
○ How many employees do we currently have and what are our future growth plans for the system support?
○ What features do we need based on specific departments?
○ Performance Management System: Will capture performance ratings from 1 to 5
5– Outstanding, 4– Exceeds Expectations, 3- Meets Expectations, 2- Needs Improvement, 1- Unacceptable
○ Employee Goals and Objectives: A process to track individual employee quarterly Management By Objectives and a tracking mechanism to track the progress of each of these goals.
● Functional Requirements
○ What functionality do we need in the system? High Priority
■ Employee Self Service
■ Manager and HRBP User Role Access
■ Automated reporting and Analytics
■ Integration with HRIS, Payroll and LMS
■ Branding / Customization
■ Dashboard displays
■ Employee engagement surveys
■ Mobile platform /app
○ Define Business Rules, Administrative tasks, User Access, etc.
● Technical Requirements: As a small organization, we do not want to invest heavily in on-site IT infrastructure, but rather move to a cloud-based solution. The system should be fast, mobile and easy to use.
○ Define: technology requirements, accessibility, performance, etc.
○ Compatibility with the existing IT infrastructure.
2) Budget Assessment and Approvals
Conduct a budget assessment and approval matrix. Define process for over budget and plan for contingencies. Details of budgets to be submitted with ROI.
3) Procurement Strategy
Identify vendors based on the requirements and initiate the process with a Request for Information (RFI) based on the information gathered during requirement gathering. Request For Quotation (RFQ) or an Request for Proposal (RFP) after qualifying the top vendors. Clearly define vendor qualification strategy.
4) Project Timeframe and Milestones
Full project timeline
* To view full timeline please change “Display Week” to desired week 1-30
● Initial Budget Approvals
● Requirements Definition Report
● Vendor Selection
● Define & Map User Roles
● Product Launch
5) Project inclusions and deliverables (in scope)
● Implementation for the entire organization
● Integration from existing HRIS system
● Customizations and features defined in the business requirement gathering
● User access and Training
6) Project exclusions (out of scope)
● Department-level customization - system should be able to be broadly applied across the entire enterprise.
● Total compensation strategy - Compensation & Benefits responsibility may use the data to design bonus and commission structure post-implementation
● Historical data hygiene and storage - Immediate needs are for implementing a new process, previous 5 years of performance reviews can be uploaded post-implementation
This project’s resource list includes Equipment, Materials, Supplies, Facilities, and Infrastructure that will be relevant to our project.
● Hardware & Network Capabilities: Existing desktops, laptops, and networks access points. Three laptops for training consultants.
● IT And Telecom for Consultants: computers, phones, printers, faxes
● Office space for consultants
● Meeting space (in person or virtual): Meetings for steering committee; conference rooms for “Train The Trainer” sessions and end user training.
● Time: Commitments for regular meetings, vendor consultations, and configuration.
● Money: Budgetary commitments for physical resources, system costs, and temporary personnel.
Vendor Project Team Roles
● Responsible for project planning
● Identifying resources.
● Creating Project Schedule
● Communications plan
● Project Execution
● Monitor and Support
● Project Close
● Communication with vendor and internal team
● Communicating project developments to stakeholders
● Schedule meetings and track MOM and action items
● Business SME
● Functional SME
● Technical SME
● Assist with identifying current state and future state
● Guide project team for planning and execution
● Decision making
● Risk assessment and mitigation
HR Head / COO / SVP
● Final decision authority
● Overall guidance
● Ensuring software implementation
● Bug fixes
● Role based user access - defining user profiles, access, and permissions.
Quality Assurance Team
Business and functional SME’s
● Ensuring testing of all features and functionality.
● Training to individual users and manager on the new system usage
● Train the trainer - internal team
The project team proposes sourcing a web-based system to minimize the need for new hardware and software. We anticipate that the implementation, employee communication, and employee education will be conducted by the internal HR team and strategic partners within the company. The primary resources needed will be budget for the platform subscription and employee time for planning, customization, and training.
● Project Manager, Lead Consultant, Consultants:
The project manager is in charge and oversees the project from beginning to end. They liaise with the project manager and administrators from client side to oversee the implementation of the project based on customer’s needs. The lead consultants offer advisory support to the customer’s team by envisioning the system they need and offering advice on the best implementation methods and options.
● Steering Committee
Domain Experts are the experts who carry out design and implementation of the system. They work closely with the project manager, consultants and executive support in coming up with the desired system. They provide business inputs and requirements as the project progresses. They also do trial runs of the system to find system glitches and come up with solutions.
● Management & Executive Support
These experts oversee the whole project and avail resources for project implementation. This includes assembling the human resource and finances required for the project. The executive supports superior system users who have exclusive rights of managing the system. They are in charge of streamlining the system to ensure it conforms to company set standards.
Once the system is up and running, the client’s team needs to be trained on its use. Instructors train individuals of the different levels of the organization including managers, senior employees and junior employees. They come up with manuals for future reference that can be used to train new employees.
Cost/Benefit Analysis and Return on Investment Analysis
Please see the Cost-Benefit Matrix here.
As a mid-size organization seeking to upscale services and content, the project team prioritized identifying a system with low up-front costs and a subscription-based model.
ROI: The project team anticipates that the investment will breakeven in 2.68 years (34 months). And there will be an ROI of 5.05% by the end of Year 3. This calculation includes assumptions as follow:
● Use of a web-based platform will not incur additional up-front hardware costs, nor direct ongoing IT network and hardware maintenance costs beyond the norm.
● The company will add 50 employees to headcount each year in Years 2 and 3, which will increase platform subscription fees by $4,800 annually.
● As users become familiar with the platform HR professionals will spend less time training and coaching.
● As employees become more skilled and motivated, and therefore more productive, bonuses and commissions will increase.
● The estimates are conservative; a positive reception and significant increase in ROI.
Vendor Evaluation Plan
The project team has identified seven potential vendors that offer cloud-based performance management services. We anticipate issuing a Request For Proposal to these companies in early July 2021 and reviewing responses for a period of 60 days. The first 30 days will be an initial review of written proposals, and the steering committee will cull the options to 3-4 potential vendors who will be invited to give a live demo. The criteria will be determined by the Gap Analysis, Needs Analysis, and Stakeholder Consultations conducted earlier in Phase 2 and outlined in the Requirements Definition Report. That report will serve as a baseline to differentiate desired vs. required features and establish priorities. Considerations for the Vendor Analysis include:
1) Identify the company that is aligned to our organizational culture and meet our project goal and objectives
2) Review longevity and stability of the vendor, and capacity to provide continuous services.
3) Accessing the system feasibility (technical, operational, legal and political and economic)
4) Cross compare and find the most user-friendly ones based on technology features, performance and accessibility based on IT & User Experience Features, Performance Management Features, HR Management and Workforce Equity Features, and Cost.
Please find a sample Vendor Analysis Here:
Role Based Requirements
Hi-Level Project Plan for Implementation
1) Testing Approach
For each step of the implementation plan, we will issue a dry run test. Put related historical data and compare the outcome with the manual outcome. If the results are better than the old one, we will move to the next step of the implementation, otherwise we will review the plan and redo the step until it’s fully functional.
In order to keep the company operation unaffected, we will keep all of the manual process until the new system is implemented. We will only open partial critical functions of the new system and give access to only project managers, power users and IT supporters.
2) Training approach
The partial functions that we talked about above, are also open to the trainers and trainees. Before the implementation is fully functional, we need to train our performance management team to make sure that they can jump right into the work after the system is implemented. The training program will also ease the resistance to changes. The transitional changes through time, will reduce the anxiety of the new system and build up the expectation for the future.
We will hire three consultants from the vendor we selected, let them train our inside training team first. Our inside training team is made of power users and full-time trainers. We want the power users to learn the information from the vendor directly to make sure they are fluent at their jobs. The full-time trainers come from the IT department and they are trained for the full training process. They are responsible for training the rest of the team and after the training session, the full-time trainers will become administrators and subject matter experts.
1) Time Management
A rushed project involves quick implementation of the project. The project therefore misses out on certain steps hence the system is bound to have glitches which might be costly to rectify. The project timeline allows a generous float for testing and validation.
2) Let the vendor take control
Giving the vendor exclusive control is counterproductive because they may not be aware of your system requirements. Moreover, the vendor may implement the project and miss out on certain needs which makes the system not suitable for use. This increases project cost and time for implementation increases.
3) Resistance to change
A new system translates in an overhaul of the way the company runs. Some employees might not be open to such a change which slows down project implementation. This is frustrating for the company because operations are slowed down. The project team recommends involving employees and managers early in the selection and design process, so they “buy-in” early and feel that their needs are being heard and met.
4) Acceptance of new system
Accepting the new system might take time because employees are accustomed to the previous system. This makes project implementation difficult. This may translate to losses for the company. As noted above, employees will be invited to provide feedback early in the design process. Doing so is a key part f change management, as is providing comprehensive training and ongoing support
5) Poor communication
A breakdown in communication translates to poor project implementation. The use of the system might therefore be difficult, and the company cannot reap maximum benefits from the system. Securing external consultants to design a clear and concise training program will ensure that system features, and usability are communicated in a manner targeted to meet the needs of different audiences.
6) Data Hygiene
Poor data input means the output will be flawed. This makes the use of the system to be ineffective. It often translates in poor analyses and thus the company is not able to achieve its objective of driving innovation and being a market leader
7) Data security
A new system has loopholes that might not be envisioned at first. This may be risky because a security breach may occur leading to loss of data or data is manipulated without authority. The project team recommends evaluating data security measures such as Single Sign On, Multi-Factor Authentication and Encryption standards as part of the vendor assessment.
8) Legal issues
The system is required to adopt the best practices in human resource and performance management. In project implementation some legal issues may be overlooked and these often translate to legal tussles which might be expensive for the company. The project team will consult with Cooktime’s General Counsel for guidance before and during vendor selection to ensure understanding of risks and benefits.
9) Lack of Training
Gaps in understanding of the functions and uses of the system will result in misuse and underuse of the platform which could impact compensation planning, cause frustration. By using a “train the trainer” model, HR Professionals will become subject matter experts and able to provide ongoing support after implementation.
The project team recommends implementing a cloud-based solution for a performance management system. We predict a 6-month time frame for sourcing and implementation. This steering committee will conduct analyses to identify gaps in performance management needs and prioritize desired features. Because there is a baseline familiarity with performance management and performance review cycles, the team is seeking to follow a “lift and shift” approach, which will also aid speed of implementation.
The project manager will convene a steering committee composed of the project sponsor, and key stakeholders and contributors: HR Employee Relations, HR Compensation, Legal, Purchasing, and IT. Based on initial estimates we anticipate recouping investment within 2.83 years, primarily through revenue enhancement and indirect savings.
Managers and HR Professionals will be able to use data from the platform more strategically over time
○ Year 1: Foster communication between managers and employees. Communicate organizational goals and objectives. Define and communicate key performance indicators. Assess employee skills. Set goals for skills development.
○ Year 2: Foster communication and collaboration between employees. Track skills development. Set quarterly benchmarks and expand bonus structure.
○ Year 3: Review and refine performance benchmarks. Identify gaps in training & development. Assess employee engagement and satisfaction.
With a formalized and networked system in place, Cooktime will be able to strategically leverage talent and set performance goals more easily and effectively to drive continued growth.
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